Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Jon Miller & Attendance

Jon Miller: Best in the business

Most of us watch the Giants on TV and are delighted to share that experience with Mike Krukow and Duane Kuiper, one of the best broadcasting tandems in baseball. I don't need to tell you how awesome they are. Their chemistry is second to none, they are hilarious, and we all enjoy listening to their homerism and baseball know-how.

However, when we're watching at home, we are missing the true genius of Jon Miller and Dave Flemming on the KNBR radio broadcasts.

Flemming, for being a young guy, is simply superb in his delivery and knowledge... he's getting better by the season because he's learning from the best in baseball: Jon Miller.

Miller's diction, knowledge, and unparalleled ability to describe even the most minute details is quite simply incredible.

We are very blessed in the Bay Area to have such excellent broadcasters. Randy Hahn, Drew Remenda, and Dan Rusanowski for the Sharks are top notch. Bob Fitzgerald, Jim Barnett, and Tim Roye are great for the Warriors. Not a huge fan of Glenn Kuiper and Ray Fosse for the A's, but they're certainly not terrible. Greg Papa does a good job with the Raiders, and Gary Plummer is an excellent radio color guy for the 49ers.

Jon Miller is on a whole 'nother level though. Just imagine his baritone voice as he described Barry Bonds's 756th homer. It is simply the most amazing literary description of anything I've ever read or heard:

"Three and two to Bonds. Everybody standing here at 24 Willie Mays Plaza. An armada of nautical craft gathered in McCovey Cove beyond the right field wall. Bonds one home run away from history. (crack of the bat) AND HE SWINGS, AND THERE'S A LONG ONE DEEP INTO RIGHT CENTER FIELD, WAY BACK THERE, IT'S GONE!!! A HOME RUN! Into the center field bleachers to the left of the 421 foot marker. An extraordinary shot to the deepest part of the yard! And Barry Bonds with 756 home runs, he has hit more home runs than anyone who has ever played the game!"

And here's Jon's call of Reuben Rivera's horrible baserunning. Gotta click on that one.

I just cannot say enough about Jon. I've said the two following things to people and actually meant them:

"I could literally listen to Jon Miller describe an almond orchard or a city sidewalk and be thoroughly entertained."


"Dude, I love tunes, but if I was stranded on a desert island, all I'd need was a tape of every broadcast Jon Miller has ever done. Seriously. That's all I would need."

God bless KNBR for its "Midnight Replay" as well. They replay the day's game starting at midnight in its entirety. Many times I will set the sleep button on my radio and fall asleep to Miller and Flem.

For instance, last night, the last thing I remember was Jon Miller describing in detail how Dom DiMaggio once had a 34 game hitting streak (after Joe's mark had been set). In the game Dom's streak ended, he hit a rocketing low line drive towards his brother Joe in the outfield. Joltin' Joe made an incredible catch to save the game and end his brother's march toward 56. Just amazing stuff.

Many of the all-time greats have passed away recently, Ernie Halwell, Harry Kalas, and the like. The best radio men alive right now in my option are Bob Uecker or the Brewers, Jon Miller, and Vin Scully of the hated Dodgers.

I should hate Vin, but he is simply a legend. He does a simulcast both on TV and radio by himself in LA-- truly amazing in its own right.

That is the last compliment to any Dodger employee you'll ever read on this site.

So... anyways, appreciate what we've got here, we've got it good here in Giants land.

Attendance issues

The Giants set another AT&T low attendance mark of of 23,934 Monday night against the Nationals. The crowd looked even sparser than that on television. Granted Washington isn't a very exciting draw and it was cold as hell out there, but this is a hard thing to witness.

We all know about the economy, it is certainly a factor. Another factor is the lack of "wow" factor that Los Gigantes give us. People would show up just to see Bonds hit, and the allure of our beautiful ballpark drew even the most indifferent breed of elitist and hipster to games.

Now, it's the gamers.

Brian Murphy was talking about this on KNBR a few weeks back. He is one of the true Candlestick nostalgists out there and is a huge fan of the home field edge. He said something to the effect of, "I'd rather have 25 or 30,000 real fans out there chanting and burning Dodger pennants in the upper deck, than 41,000 fairweather non-fans out there."

I for one agree with him. Although I wasn't there on Monday, it appeared to have a Candlestick feel to it. Trash was blowing around, people were bundled up in blankets. You could hear isolated hecklers. The serenades of "What's the matter with "so and so"? HE'S A BUM!" was going on the whole game. It seemed like a throwback night, and only the most hardcore of fans show up on a Monday in blustery 52 degree weather to games.

The A's attendance situation is no laughing matter, but when you go out to the Coliseum, you'll see the same type of fanhood being exhibited. Sparse, cold, and passionate.

As for the Giants, the numbers are not what I expected. Through 15 home games last year, their average was 33,824. Guess what this year's is?


Huh? They're drawing only 427 less fans? I was sure the figure was going to be uglier myself. The only explanation I can think of is that people with season tickets are not going to the games and are either unable to sell them or unable to give them away.

The park just seems more sparse this year, and it's more than 427 people.

The Giants are playing good baseball though, and we will continue to draw at this solid, yet unspectacular clip.

Brian Murphy and I have no problem with it at all.


  1. As a Tiger fan I assure you that Ernie Harwell, though retired from the booth, is still very much alive and well.

    I have XM Radio and enjoy listening to other teams' broadcasts on nights when my guys are idle. Miller and Flemming are big favorites of mine.

  2. That was a dumb mistake. Thanks for the correction!